Over the past ten years I’ve had the opportunity to mentor some incredibly talented young designers and artists in varied forms and techniques. From Yr. 10 work experience, the local Steiner schools Year 8 mentoring programs in screen printing and sewing, my screen printing workshops and wearable art design.

All of these students have produced, in my opinion some truly inspiring design work, such as cushions, fabric, tea towels, T-Shirts, the list goes on. Every time I see a finished piece I assure my students and truly believe that these items could be proudly displayed and sold in the handmade market place.

Every student has had an all in attitude and focus that has left me in awe of their ability and talent. I kept in contact with most of my students since they have been through my studio in one way or another from conversations about how they could continue making, helping them sell their product to giving some students casual work on my market stalls and in my workshops.

But when they had finished their time with me and left the studio there was always a little niggling feeling that they had only just started to get into the swing of things, these young adults had the potential to learn about making their own products, start a small business and earn an income from what they had designed and made, so this got me thinking about how I could support these beautiful Young Designers in the future or at least give them an insight to what it takes to start a small business of their own.

When I looked around what I had to offer, it was all there. A beautiful well equipped studio they could produce from, my knowledge and experience of my small business set up and an online website, and so all the dots connected.

I invited my past students to an information night where I explained this crazy idea I had, a Young Designers Program. It went something like this –

“Hello,

This letter is being sent out to all my beautiful, talented designers / screen printers who have been with me for mentoring, work experience or workshops over the past few years. This opportunity is so you can further your skills and learn what it takes to design, print, cost, advertise and sell your product.

Some of you may have already heard that I’m starting a Young Designers program through the Ink Object studio to launch all of you very talented people by featuring a Young Designers shop on my website.

Young Designers will enable you all to design, print and sell your very own product with the help and guidance of me in the studio. “

Everyone I had invited turned up, and so far very much on board to take this maiden voyage with me as a young designer. I was so happy that this was the start of something really exciting and very close to my heart, supporting talented young adults and giving them a platform for their creative voice.

Each step of the way I will introduce them to a new lesson as we go, buying base materials and choosing suppliers, designing, producing a product, costing, photography, advertising, postage, customer service the list goes on. All of it will be in my studio, so they are experiencing first hand what it takes to run working commercial art studio.

Stay tuned for the first listings of these talented Young Designers!